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Children’s rights education (or children’s human rights education) is the teaching and practice of children’s rights in schools and educational institutions, as informed by and consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. When fully implemented, a children's rights education program consists of both a curriculum to teach children their human rights, and framework to operate the school in a manner that respects children's rights. Articles 29 and 42 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child require children to be educated about their rights.
In addition to meeting legal obligations of the Convention to spread awareness of children’s rights to children and to adults, teaching children about their rights has the benefits of improving their awareness of rights in general, making them more respectful of other people's rights, and empowering them to take action in support of other people's rights. Early programs to teach children about their rights, in Belgium, Canada, England and New Zealand have provided evidence of this.It must never be forgotten that children's rights in schools were taught and practiced as an ethos of 'liberating the child' well before the UN Convention was written, and that this practice helped to inform the values and philosophy of the Convention, the IBE and UNESCO, though sadly these practices, and this history is not really acknowledged or built-upon by the UN. One of the reasons why children's rights have not become a foundation of our schools despite 100 years of struggle.
Children’s human rights education refers to education and educational practices in schools and educational institutions that are consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is a form of education that takes seriously the view that children are bearers of human rights, that children are citizens in their own right, that schools and educational institutions are learning communities where children learn (or fail to learn) the values and practices of human rights and citizenship, and that educating children about their own basic human rights is a legal obligation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Children's rights education is education where the rights of the child, as described in the Convention, is taught and practiced in individual classrooms. But in its most developed form, children’s rights are taught and practiced in a systematic and comprehensive way across grade levels, across the school, and across school districts. With full-blown children’s rights education, children’s rights are not simply an addition to a particular subject or classroom. Rather, the rights of the child are incorporated into the school curricula, teaching practices, and teaching materials across subjects and grade levels and are the centerpiece of school mission statements, behavior codes, and school policies and practices.
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